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The Sick Days: Part 13
How one young reporter ended up shouting at the Queen Mother from the sidelines of a horse race while dodging the pig sty theatrics of One Yonge
By Shelley Page
When I joined the Star’s downtown general assignment pool, all the reporters’ desks had been shoved into rows as they renovated the newsroom.
It reminded me of a Grade 8 class at an all-boys school.
Loud-talking guys in wrinkled dress shirts, loosened ties, sitting jowl-to-cheek, ego-to-ego, as they pounded out their stories on 1970s computers, in late stages of decay.
I was seated, temporarily, beside a bulldog of two-way man (meaning he both wrote and took photographs), who immediately showed me the collection of girlie photos he’d amassed on the job. He’d somehow convinced numerous women to pose for photos with their shirts off, and kept a file in his desk, mixed in with pictures of his children (clothed).
He showed me this collection, I guess, to see how I’d react.
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Dressing like a lady and other lessons for a cub reporter
Looking back, an essential lesson for female journalism students should have been how to deal with sexist notions that our almost entirely male professors held, and that existed in the newsrooms we would soon walk into
By Shelley Page
In journalism school, we learned how to shape a story into an inverted pyramid, ask open-ended questions and be fair-minded. What if we wanted to get a big important man to talk and we were female?
Well, I learned that lesson in my fourth-year investigative reporting class after I was told to interview Liberal Senator Colin Kenny for a book being written by one of my instructors, John Sawatsky.
I was nervous and Kenny was impatient and gave short, unhelpful answers. Although it was bitterly cold outside, he opened his window and seemed to lean into the howling winter wind. My tape recorder barely picked up his answers.
Back on campus, I told Sawatsky and Professor Joe Scanlon, ...